[OPE-L] Laura Bush and the "battle for Burma"

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Mon Oct 15 2007 - 15:13:15 EDT

Personally I know little about Burma beyond my reading, a travel stop in Rangoon, and meeting a Burmese intellectual in New Zealand, but then I read in the news today about Laura Bush's "Burma campaign". 

When you are a figurehead of "the empire", it is of course easy to develop a regal penchant for devising amelioration schemes, to improve "horrible little countries" ("rogue states") that reject "proper American values".

But some questions arise in my mind.

First question: what would Laura say, if the Burmese government decided that Detroit is a mess, and that they need "regime change" there, with the aid of covert operations, military attacks, trade boycotts and heavy political bribery in world forums? Would that be lawful and okay, given that there are a lot of social, economic and political problems there?

Second question: wouldn't Laura be better off concentrating on the poor, the homeless, the dispossessed and the sick within the USA itself (for example Detroit)? After all, that is the country she is a leader of. It is fashionable to deplore conditions in some faraway country, but how about your own country? 

Third question: how credible is American posturing, when the US officials helped to stimulate the narcotics trade in Burma?

Imperialist thinking always assumes that by meddling in the internal affairs of other countries without so much as an official invitation, you will make things better. The whole history of imperialism however shows that this is an extremely doubtful premise. In almost all cases, it is simply not true. One reason why it is not true, is because the meddling does not occur primarily to benefit the local population, but to benefit the meddler.

If more imperialists turned their attention instead to bad conditions within their own countries, I think the world would be a better place. 

Ramzy Baroud comments:

"Burma is as important to China as the Middle East is to the US. China cares more about the political stability of its neighbours than human rights and democracy; the US cares about such a nuisance insofar as its ability to serve its own militaristic and economic interests is affected. China is the world's fourth largest economy, and will soon be the third; its holds $1.4 trillion in reserve, mostly in US treasury bonds. Its sway over the global financial system is undeniable, and under no circumstance will it allow America a significant role in a country that shares with it a 2,000-kilometre border. The US, on the other hand, pays lip service to democracy in Burma, and its continued "support" of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy is aimed at maintaining a foothold in Burma for a future role, should the relationship between the West and China turn sour. Humanitarian imperialism has proved more destructive than the injustices it supposedly eradicates. But expect none of that in the case of Burma, because intervention does not serve the interests of the influential parties -- not the West's, or China's, or Russia's. We may see a few sentimental meetings between Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of the generals, and perhaps a few gestures of goodwill by the latter, at the behest of China and the West. But they will bring no sweeping reforms, nor meaningful democracy or human rights. These can only be achieved by the people of Burma, their monks, civil society activists, and by ordinary people. If Iraq has been a lesson of any worth it is that the Burmese are much better off without American bombing raids or British napalm in the name of intervention. True reforms and democracy can only come from within, from the closed fists of the determined dispossessed. Indeed, Burma is not Iraq, and Thank God for that." http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=40150


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